BELLOWS FALLS -- In the words of Jon Bon Jovi ... Who says you can't go home?
After roughly 12 years, the local tradition of Rockingham Old Home Days will move from the Bellows Falls Waypoint Center to its original spot at the village square. It will begin on Friday, Aug. 3.
Organizers say moving the celebration back to downtown will make it more kid-friendly. The antique car show, however, will be held at the Waypoint Center.
Old Home Days is a three-day festival, held the first weekend every August, with a tradition dating to 1976 -- the 200th anniversary of the year the Declaration of Independence was adopted. The annual pilgrimage to the Rockingham Meeting House spans back even further and fireworks will be set off Saturday night.
Roger Riccio, the executive director of the Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the decision to move the festival back to The Square was the result of a collaboration between the chamber, the Old Home Days Committee and the Town of Rockingham.
"It's good. I think change is inevitable. I think you change things up. It keeps things interesting," he said, adding that a change of scenery might be beneficial. "It's fun, and it'll be a lot of fun this year, too."
The antique car show, the first in Old Home Days history, was originally supposed to be held downtown but the plan was changed to the Waypoint Center to accommodate more entrants. Riccio said he doesn't know the exact
Rosemarri Roth, executive director of the Bellows Falls Downtown Development Alliance, said the move will enable all the local shops, stores and eateries to be a part of a great tradition.
"The wonderful thing about it is that it will be a much more contained event," she said. "Everything will be more local."
Roth said bringing the festival back to The Square will allow for complete community involvement. She added, however, that it is not just a local event, as people come from all over to enjoy the festivities. She said a lot of families from many states show up to spend time and money in the village.
"Everything that brings people into the downtown area helps the local economy," she said.
The festival will kick off with the "Bring It Home" 5K fun run on Saturday. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. at the TD Bank parking lot and the proceeds from all the $10 entry fees will support the fireworks and Old Home Days.
Climbing walls, a petting zoo, face-painting and pony rides near Hetty Green Park will start at 10 a.m. Live music and performers, including clowns and jugglers, will play throughout the afternoon.
A family movie will also play in the Bellows Falls Opera House theater during the day to go along with sidewalk sales for downtown businesses and a food court.
Athens Pizza House will host a pizza-eating contest and Dari Joy will hold another ice cream contest.
For more information, visit the chamber's website at www.gfrcc.org or call the downtown office at (802)-463-4280.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.